Having had good experiences flying with Pookie at 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 11 months, we still could not be sure that flying with a 14 month-old would go smoothly, but I must say, it was not bad at all.
TIMING We could not have timed it any better. Our flight left at 10am – right when Pookie would be ready for his first nap. When I say ready, I mean very ready, but of course not too ready. So, as soon as the plane took off, we put him on his nursing pillow (I still use one even though I am no longer nursing) and gave him his bottle. He went right to sleep and slept for roughly an hour. The nursing pillow (specifically the My Brest Friend) was key because it gave him a comfortable place to stretch out on and helped him get to sleep and stay asleep. It’s more comfortable for me as well. Let’s put it this way: it’s an absolute necessity.
FOOD When he woke up, we gave him his lunch of dry whole wheat elbow pasta (I almost put sauce on it, but then promptly decided against it), cut-up buffalo mozzarella, grape tomatoes and berries. The pasta worked perfectly because by giving him one noodle at a time, it took a long time for him to eat, which is a great thing when all you’re trying to do is kill time and prevent him from realizing that he is done with this whole plane business.
ENTERTAINMENT We made an incredibly stupid rookie mistake and did not bring any toys with us. When I realized that, I panicked and bought a small book at the airport. He ended up really not being interested in it, which was no problem in the end since the flight from NYC to New Orleans only takes 3 hours or less. He was entertained by things like sitting like a big boy in our seats, crawling up and down the aisle and meeting the other passengers. For a longer flight though, whatever you do, DO NOT forget to bring some favorite toys.
EAR PAIN We made another dumb mistake and forgot to bring a second bottle, which we really needed to give him during landing. I’m sure you’ve heard that if a baby breastfeeds or sucks on a bottle during take-off and landing, it helps prevent the pain of pressure in babies’ ears. Towards the end of the flight, he started becoming fussy and we weren’t sure why. Then I realized my ears were killing me, so he must also have pressure in his ears. We desperately asked the flight attendant for some milk to put in his bottle, and, um, THEY DID NOT HAVE ANY! WHAT???? We tried giving him his sippy cup with water in it, but that didn’t do the trick since he wouldn’t sip on it for long. We finally found a solution. We put his water in his bottle and he sucked on that for the remainder of the flight, and that seemed to unplug his ears. Phew! So, learn from our mistake, and always bring at least two bottles!
Overall, the flight went well, and we feel confident that the next one will go more smoothly.